I was a little upset when my Xbox 360 gave up the ghost this week (exactly 1 hour before Shadow Complex released in actual fact). Earlier today while making breakfast, I decided to run the Gaygamer.net podcast, I was suddenly made aware of a few facts that I had not previously known about author Orson Scott Card. Even more to the point, they discussed some issues that have also come about on the Chair Entertainment website. In their defence, there has been no official statement from the company yet on the situation that has been alleged to have occurred on their forums.
I'll have to admit that now I'm a little torn on the issue. On the one hand there is the developer, who by all account, has no issues with the GLBT community. In fact, the writer who actually worked on the game is really quite friendly to the community. The game looks as if it is well made, and fun to play. On the other hand, as a gay man, I do not want any of my money going to a man who wrote this:
Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down.
Even beyond this statement, he has very disturbing views on the separation of church and state, and is also on the board of the National Organization for Marriage (one of the organizations behind proposition 8, and also a group that lobbied to hide the list of donor's to this campaign from public view. At least it seems their views on keeping things in the closet are consistent I suppose. =/ ). I can not, in all good conscience, show my support for this man. Which is what leaves me torn between my desire to support the one, and not the other.
It is a complicated issue to say the least. If you are at all interested in getting some more facts, check out that link I posted to Gaygamer.net, and also this article Gamasutra posted about it.
I'm a little drunk... so this will likely be somewhat unfocused.
I've heard people bitch about monster closets ever since Doom 3 was released. The strange thing about that, the only game that really has seemed to have been "tarred" with this moniker has been Doom 3. The thing that blows my mind about this, is that monster closets have been around for years... and long before Doom 3 was ever released.
The real question I supposed would be, "what is the monster closet?" An excellent question. In reality... this device is really meant to be an area just outside of the player's range of vision that spawns enemies for them to combat. Every game ever made uses this tactic... from top down shooters, to real time strategy games. The developer needs a place to spawn enemies to attack the player from a position that they may not be ready to engage from. So... why does Doom 3 get tarred with this designation?
The answer is that the developers didn't bother to paint a door on the wall of the location that certain enemies spawn from. Despite the fact that games Rainbow Six Vegas, and Ghost Recon both use this tactic, they get a 'get out of jail free card' because they decide to paint a useless fucking door on one of the walls of the monster closet.
It's entirely possible that I'm crazy (and I invite you here to rebut this argument), but it doesn't make any sense to me that a game like Doom 3 is maligned for picking scary times to spawn enemies as being for having 'monster closets', while games like Serious Sam and the upcoming Serious Sam HD have absolutely no comment on the matter (especially since people are still bitching about it over new screenshots for RAGE).
Give me a good argument for why monster closets in Doom 3 are bad, and why they are awesome in games like Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden 2.
I went by the Gamespot page today to see if they decided to post anything remotely interesting. One of the top links leads to an interview with "composer" Nobuo Uematsu... the article was already losing points for lack of originality. No one cares, but after watching this thing and reading the comments (from what I assume are people who can muster enough thought to actually type words?) I felt the need to write something down of my own.
Good on the guy for making a living at composing music. Not that many people make a decent living at this kind of thing.
I hate his music. I think it is derivative, drawn out, and banal. I've never found it particularly effective at evoking emotion... most likely because it's mired with excessive amounts of cheese. I'd rather listen to Yanni... and I fucking hate Yanni.
I'm sure he's a perfectly nice man, but when I see his name on the credits I turn the BGM down.
Well... after 5 years, I've finally gone and updated my computer system from the ground up. My system was pretty old... though it still ran a lot of games pretty well. Certain aspects of my rig however still surprised many people... the most of which was the fact I was still running a CRT monitor.
I am now running a brand new core i7 system with a Geforce GTX 275 and a brand new LCD monitor that has a native resolution of 1080p. Only now do I notice that before I was running F.E.A.R. 2 at 20 frames per second. Only now am I being blown away by the total presentation that Crysis/Warhead has to offer (and let me tell you... Crysis at 1080p is pretty impressive nearly 2 years since release).
I haven't had much of a chance to try this out since it happened, but I finally downloaded the surprisingly large update and booted into this afternoon. It might just be me, but I don't remember having this many sound options in the game before (someone please correct me if this is wrong). There are a lot of music tracks in there now, and some of em are actually pretty good. A lot of them also sound like they were recorded well, though there's a few cheesy midi sounds in there too.
The other bit I noticed when I loaded up Mars are little speaker boxes in the game world. As you move around them, the music playing in the background will move around your system relative to the game world. Even more cute is that when you EAT one of the speakers, the music sounds muffled. That's the main thing I noticed anyway. There are probably others.
(Note: The main reason I noticed the new music choices was because the game defaulted to a song I had not heard before, and was so incensed by its viscious tones I had to immediately find a way to turn it off. The song was a Noby Noby Boy version of It's a Small World Afterall. I am now curious if the inclusion of this incredibly annoying song was to push more people to discover the new(?) music menu. If so, that is at once both brilliant, and devious.)
The following post is going to be somewhat banal. This is, somewhat unfortunately, due to the fact that I have been drinking a little bit.
I decided to pick myself up a copy of GRID the other day. This is a game that I had intended to play some time ago because I actually quite like the racing games that Codemasters has put out.
I have played the Colin McCrae series for many years; I credit this game for making me a fan of racing games. The first year I played a Colin McCrae game was back in 2002. Since then the series changed a fair amount from year to year, but always seemed to maintain the basic feel of their racing model. With the release of DiRT, I felt as if all of that came to a head... with the exclusion of the minor amounts of vehicle customising that I had become used to (eg. picking the right tires for the terrain, etc.).
GRID is the second game in the Pro Race Driver series that I have tried, and it is definitely my favorite. This game has a sense of speed and immediacy like no other racing game that I have played. The Burnout series has always been very fast, but the racing model has always been somewhat loose. GRID is a game that has an immense sense of speed, but also requires a great deal more accuracy out of the player than you might expect. The result is a game that has you sitting on the edge of your seat from start to finish... especially if you want to play with a wheel!
There haven't been that many racing games released in 2008... and some of them have been pretty good. Thus far GRID is my pick for racing game of the year. If you are a fan of racing games, than I highly recommend that you pick this up. It is a difficult game, but very rewarding if you stick with it, and learn how to race like a pro.
I played through the demo the morning before I left for work, and I have to say that this is a game I really want to play now. The first person gameplay really works at making the moves more exciting than they would be if the camera were pulled back a distance behind your character. It makes the action and the jump turns more exciting; it also heightens tension as you approach the edge of buildings without a clear view of the other side.
I also really like their design style. The city looks really nice, and its predominantly white colour scheme allows them to use just simple primary colors for interesting effect both stylistically, and for use in gameplay.
If there is one thing I hope, it is that you can get through the game without ever having to fire a single bullet if you don't want to.
I just hit level 20 in Too Human, and I'm taking a break for some food and life. Having gone a good chunk into this game now, I am completely confused by a lot of the reactions that people are having to this game. It's really at the point where it sounds like they're playing some other game entirely.
The first critique that I notice is the graphics. I've seen people say this game is flat out ugly, and that the graphics are, "serviceable". I actually think this game looks good. I really like the environments so far, the backgrounds are nice, and the huge machines operating in the background also look good. I don't even think the models look bad. Sure, the mouth's are a bit weird, but there have already been multitudes of games with models that look the same or worse that haven't taken anywhere NEAR as much criticism as these have (I liked Skate, but the models in that game look more jacked than these do, and I don't recall anyone harping on *that*).
The next complaint that confuses me is about the combat system. The combat is apparently bland, and repetitive. This comment confuses me because it seems to disregard the fact that this game is an action RPG, and EVERY action RPG game that I have ever played has an infinitely more bland combat system than this one. In most games of that type all you is click around on stuff. For added depth, developers have also been implenting hot key skills so you can also tap a number button to do an additional skill. There might be lots of these "skills" in games like this, but each one is usually a slight variation on DoT, Damage, or Root.
In Too Human they obviously don't have a mouse, so they replaced that with the stick. Instead of clicking and holding on an enemy, you're moving the stick and guiding to the enemy. It's an effective implementation of the diablo combat style in a fully 3D game on a console with no mouse. The only other action rpg's that I know of on consoles are the Dark Alliance games, and that piece of crap that shipped at the launch of the PS3. Those games just had you tapping a button from a top down perspective, and again, no one decided to make a big deal about the combat being bland. In my mind, Too Human is an updated and good implementation of an old system that was already tired long before World of Warcraft came out.
The final complaint I'm going to comment on, are the comments I see made about the story. People complain that there's no story in this game... when to me story is all over the place. I know I am only half way through the game, but I like the story so far. They're talking about his past, the start of a war, betrayal, murder, trickery, etc. In addition to that, the art assets and design of the levels convey the story themselves. This is one of the most confusing complaints to me, as saying this game has no story is mind boggling to me. This is the one that really makes me wonder if people are playing a different game entirely.
The entire situation with this game reminds me so much of The Club. I'm not trying to tell people out there that they are wrong for disliking the game, but I *am* going to say that I think it is because they were expecting this to be some other game than what it is. That is something which is *also* really confusing to me, as this is exactly the game I was expecting as it is *exactly* what they said it is. They've been saying it's an "action RPG" in the vein of Diablo, which is why I can't understand why it isn't being looked at as one.